Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Earned Media Earns More on Social Platforms

by Laura Pfister
VP, Strategic Insight, Ignite Health

The concept of “earned media”, that in which your target audience engages with your brand message and then passes along to their social sphere of friends, family and acquaintances, is far from new; however, new social platforms, such as Facebook, have created a fundamental change in the way earned media is experienced and accepted through this interactive medium.

Social Technologies Facilitate Earned Media

Technological advancements have lead to increased amplification and speed of earned media’s “voice” of the target audience as a single posting possesses the ability to reach hundreds friends in a fraction of a second. Previously brands had little to no control over the earned-media messaging, as an individual passed along a message via traditional word-of-mouth, they now are designed in such a manner to allow for a controlled message to be passed along ensuring message consistency. Additionally, the web-based platforms allow for significantly increased measurability, as well as a further examination of the relationship between a paid impression and the resulting earned media’s impact on brand perception.

Nielsen & Facebook Earned Media Study Overview

Nielsen, in partnership with Facebook, released an April 2010 study entitled “Advertising Effectiveness: Understanding the Value of a Social Media Impression”
. [Accessed April 28, 2010 at] that examines just these relationships. The study, conducted over six months with over 800,000 Facebook user surveys and 125 advertising campaigns utilizing Nielson’s proprietary BrandLift research product, reveals findings that are of importance for those currently engaged with or considering the development of social media programs.

Earned Media Makes Major Measurable Impact on Social Platforms

As seen below, this report focuses on the three types of advertisements utilized to drive reach and brand messaging within Facebook: Standard Homepage Ad, Homepage Ad with Social Context, and Organic Impressions

Within the study, it was found that the social advertisements and organic impressions as the result of brand interaction possessed significantly higher recall, awareness and purchase intent rates.

Brand Impact Longevity Increases with Social

Also of interest was the target audiences possessed a higher willingness to absorb the social earned messages over a longer duration of time than seen with traditional advertising formats. With traditional advertising, audiences tune-out after approximately 4 impressions, however, with social there appears to be growth even after 10+ impressions. This provides the opportunity for increased momentum for campaigns within a social sphere, as audiences stay open to message consumption longer with increased impact potential.

: Social Investment Offset by Significant Earned Media Potential

The social media platform, specifically Facebook, allows for controlled earned media that has proven increased impact across awareness, recall and intent. All of these have the potential to drive value to our campaigns; however, in order for our audiences to engage our messaging within these platforms, it is first necessary for us to possess a meaningful presence within them. Once this has been established, brands need to get the ball-rolling through paid advertising that is interesting and engaging, thus starting the influx of earned media. Following this initial building phase, brands should measure the growth of new members and ad interaction rates to ensure that they do not stagnate, providing boosts of paid media support to maintain momentum through the course of the campaign as necessary, thus maximizing earned social media potential.

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